Thursday, December 31, 2009 

Cleaning up

So I hope everyone is going to have a good New Year's Eve tonight... I've been running around trying to get all of my ducks in a row, so here's a bunch of stuff I've meant to link recently.

Whatever the truth (or 'truth') behind the concept/character/music/whatever, I hope we can all agree that Andrew WK is awesome. I've already seen some pretty dumb/overly literal responses to that video pop up online, but I think it's not that hard to figure out what he's saying.

On a much more sober note, Ned Ragget posted this video in honour of Patrick Stewart's impending knighthood and all around greatness. Which said video, while quite moving and harrowing, only confirms.

Andrew Unterberger has been counting down the top 100 most 00s songs, and he just wrapped it up; love or hate any of his selections, you have to admire the depth and ability of the writing on display there. I always love Andrew's lists, and this one was a doozy.

I haven't had much going up of my own work, but RA did post my review of the fine Astral Social Club album that no-one seems to be paying attention to. It's really very good.

My friend Rachel has been working as an intern for Merge (nice work if you can get it), and they put up a brief year-end list for her. It's pretty adorable.

And lastly, to play us out of 2009, DJ Earworm's latest United State of Pop ultra-mashup. I love these for a few reasons; Earworm restricts himself to the Billboard top 25, which keeps things interesting, he's got a keen ear for how to fit all these songs together, and he usually manages to layer on the emtional high points/crescendos/party moments in all that pop until the result is as heady, kaleidoscopic and mythic feeling as a good Grant Morrison superhero comic. Let's hope he keeps doing these every year. Enjoy, and have a good night!


Do you remember when 21 years was old?

Feel good hits of the 31st of December, 2009:

Phoenix - Countdown
TV on the Radio - Lover's Day
Elbow - Bitten By the Tailfly
Talking Heads - Burning Down the House
The Silent League - Resignation Studies
The Police - Wrapped Around Your Finger
My Bloody Valentine - Cupid Come
Hefner - I Took Her Love for Granted
The New Pornographers - Challengers
Constantines - St. You

(Winter, when a youngish man's fancy turns to thoughts of... love?)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009 

Are you ready?


Friday, December 25, 2009 

Happy Christmas your arse

Whatever your religious/social/cultural baggage (or lack thereof) around this time of year, I hope you're all not working and instead doing what you want to be doing with the people you want to be with. We're leaving to go see my parents soon, which is what I want to be doing; over the dulcet strains of the crackheads yelling across the hall, I wish you all a good one.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009 

Slipped my mind (it continues pt. 4)

I was unaware that one of the things I was writing for PopMatters' year-end thing was for the ancillary blog stuff, but that's where my Mountains blurb is.

Sunday, December 20, 2009 

A beloved holiday tradition

About once a year Singles Jukebox head honcho and personal hero of mine William B. Swygart (the B may stand for "bloody") rouses himself from his work enough to liveblog something. This time it's the UK Xmas top 40 and if you know anything about pop music you know why that's exciting... and if like me you loved and miss dearly Will's UK chart roundups for Stylus you know why this particular take on it is even more exciting. The preamble is here; he's got the whole thing up, so get your ass over there!

Saturday, December 19, 2009 

"That was brutal, man."

I don't care who you are, you pretty much have to read this interview with David Simon, creator of The Wire. But if you've never seen the show before or you're not done it, stop at the end of page 4. And then go watch the show.

Friday, December 18, 2009 


The last couple of days sees a few things I've written going up; a review of the new record by Radian at Resident Advisor, and my show review of the amazing Andrew W.K./Calder Quartet concert at PopMatters.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009 

drone love honesty sound

Silber, one of my favourite small labels, is having a pretty badass sale right now. You can get the ten records they put out from 1995-2002 that are still in print for $35 ($60 if you're not in the US), or any ten records from a pretty impressive list for $65 ($90 internationally). If you are considering the latter at all, I can especially recommend Aarktica's No Solace in Sleep, Small Life Form's One (reviewing it for Stylus back in the day was my first exposure to Silber), the two Twelve albums (Twelve = Chris Olley from Six By Seven's sort of krautrock band), and especially Alan Sparhawk's Solo Guitar. While you're there, you may also notice they've put up some more free EPs and the like to download.


It continues pt. 3

I didn't write any of the blurbs, but Resident Advisor's best of 2009 albums list is up. It is, of course, fantastic (although I didn't vote for #1 and wish #17 was higher).


I hate my husband, I hate my children

Feel good hits of the 16th of December, 2009:

Xiu Xiu - Suha
Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton - Detective Daughter
Tamas Wells - I'm Sorry That the Kitchen Is on Fire
Aberdeen City - In Combat
Spacemen 3 - Come Down Easy
Metric - Help I'm Alive
Deftones - Hole in the Earth
The Horrors - Mirror's Image
Neil Young - Out on the Weekend
The Beatles - For No One

Tuesday, December 15, 2009 

It continues pt. 2

Today sees my album blurb for PopMatters' best of 2009 list, for (of course) the Mountain Goats, coming in at a respectable 18. More importantly, it also sees my review at Blurt of an album I didn't even hear until after voting at PM, Doveman's fucking incredible tour de force The Conformist. I've been doing this music critic thing for a minute or two, and as hopefully some of you have noticed I don't give out a lot of 10/10s, A+s, what have you. Doveman I gave a 10/10. Please find some way to hear this record; it'll be #1 in my Pazz & Jop poll for sure.


Well I'll be

Nick Southall (I'll say it again, the guy who's fault it probably is that I'm a music critic) has a blog again. Well the bastard could have told me. Go read his year end stuff, it's good - even when he's wrong.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009 


Today sees both my review of the new Ola Podrida at Blurt and the Mountains quasi-live album at PopMatters.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009 

It continues

If you're not following the Singles Jukebox year end extravaganza, you are missing out on my favourite year-end thing 2009 is going to have. I happened to have been assigned the first two groups of round one, so both of my groups have been posted. And as annoyed I am that Dirty Projectors made it (that song is ass), I'm livid that my fellow writers are largely deaf to the glory of "Delirious." I guess it's up to my Pazz & Jop ballot to try and redress the issue...


I'll come forward laughing everytime

Feel good hits of the 7th of December, 2009:

Blue Rodeo - Underground
The Divine Comedy - Love What You Do
Wheat - Don't I Hold You?*
Friendly Fires - Jump in the Pool
Doveman - The Best Thing
The Verve - Sonnet
Trentemoller ft. Ane Trolle - Moan
Belle & Sebastian - The Boy With the Arab Strap
The Band - The Weight
Ellie Goulding - Under the Sheets

*(the re-recorded version, of course)

Monday, December 07, 2009 


Simon Reynolds' Guardian essay on the decade's music is a very worthwhile piece of writing. But let's be honest, if not for the fact that he's mentioned the upcoming (one-off) Stylus reunion, which he's contributing to, I might not have blogged it. Note too that Ian Cohen, who wrote the Pitchfork Arcade Fire blurb Reynolds writes about, is a Stylus alum.


It begins

The first end-of-2009 piece that I'm involved in is up; PopMatters has its best singles of the year list posted today and you can find me at number 27.

Saturday, December 05, 2009 

A localized, blood-filled dilation

It is now bitterly ironic to me that I posted this and this recently. They were (and are) sincere, but my mom just called and told me that Steve had an aneurysm yesterday. Steve and Shirley were both good friends of my stepfather (he'd known Steve for at least 30 years) and I've known them for years. An aneurysm is an uniquely horrifying way to go and I wouldn't wish it on anyone, but if anyone I know didn't deserve to go that way it was Steve. One of the loveliest guys I've ever met. And now I'll never see him again.

I want to write more, but as my mom said to me, there are no words. People I care about need to stop dying.

Friday, December 04, 2009 

Grow up, go outside

The online response I've seen to the Singles Jukebox's blurb on Animal Collective's "My Girls" has been infuriatingly dumb. I don't normally care about this sort of thing enough to write about it, but I continually live in hope that people will get over the idea that differences in taste necessarily mean antagonism, and I'm continually disappointed.

That said, as I told some friends, if I read one more comment accusing us of some ridiculous bad faith/disingeneousness, or equating different tastes with being 'out of touch,' I'm going to stab the internet.

Thursday, December 03, 2009 

A silent storm

I know ambient dub isn't exactly everyone's kettle of fish, but I really hope at least some of you check out this Variant album (that I reviewed for PopMatters). It really is a gorgeous piece of work.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009 

I’m quietly confident

Feel good hits of the 2nd of December, 2009:

An Horse – Camp Out
Jack Peñate – Body Down
U2 – Lemon
Dragonette – Take It Like a Man
Mull Historical Society – Animal Cannabus
My Bloody Valentine – Drive It All Over Me
Two Lone Swordsmen - Rattlesnake Daddy
The Mountain Goats - Color in Your Cheeks
The Shortwave Set – No Social
Digitalism - Pogo


Sometimes I realize

My head is about the explode from how late it is and how much I have left to do before sleep (getting up for work sucks and I can't believe most of humanity does it, so there), but here's a review of the quite excellent new Engineers album.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009 

"The Rosa Klebb of letters"

The next time someone asks me why I don't like Ayn Rand, really, all I have to do is point them here.


I love it

I actually think this goes fairly well with that twitter link I posted below.

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About me

Ian Mathers is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Stylus, the Village Voice, Resident Advisor, PopMatters, and elsewhere. He does stuff and it magically appears here.

Contact Me:
imathers at gmail dot com

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